I’m absolutely thrilled to be hosting the Ginny Moon blog tour today. I absolutely LOVED this book – you can read my gushing review HERE. I was lucky enough to ask author Benjamin Ludwig some questions about his debut novel – I hope you enjoy his answers as much as I did! Over to Benjamin…
Hello Benjamin, and welcome to Cosy Books. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Certainly! I’m a husband and dad, first and foremost. My wife and I have two children, ages
three and seven; and we also have a twenty-year-old daughter. And, up until this past September,
I was a public-school teacher. I took a year off from teaching in order to support the publication
of my first novel, Ginny Moon.
Ginny Moon is your debut novel, could you tell us what it’s about in your own words?
Ginny Moon is a fourteen year old girl with autism who gets adopted from the foster care system
– and as soon as she gets to her new home, she immediately begins plotting her own kidnapping.
Aside from the adventure, the book is about voice. People just don’t “hear” Ginny when she
speaks. They don’t take the time to listen, and so they miss out on some extremely important
things that she’s trying to tell them.
Your book is inspired, in part, from your own experiences of adopting a young adult with
autism and I wondered if you could share with us why you felt this was an important story
I wrote Ginny Moon because Ginny’s voice came to me one night after my daughter’s Special
Olympics basketball practice. I came home with this intense, overpowering voice ringing in my
ears. I had to get it out! So I typed some lines of dialogue, which I quickly saw needed to be
internal dialogue – and then Ginny just took over. It was a remarkable, mysterious experience,
one that I’m still trying to figure out. But once Ginny started narrating the book, it pretty much
Was it difficult to write about such a personal subject? And how does your daughter feel
about inspiring your book?
It was extremely difficult to write the passages in which Ginny is in danger, or reveals something
about her past. There were times when I wanted to stop writing, but Ginny demanded that we
keep going. So we did. And yes, my daughter read the book. There were some important parts
that she didn’t understand, but all in all she enjoyed it. She understands that it’s not about her,
and that Ginny is a different person with a very different background.
Having some experience of working with young adults with Autism, I was struck by how
genuine and unique Ginny’s voice is and felt people with little to no experience would really
get an understanding of the challenges individuals face. Was it your intention to do this?
I’d like to say that it was my intention, but the truth (again) is that Ginny sort of took over my
writing process. For a whole year! There are certainly some messages in this book, primarily
about voice and the importance of listening to people who might seem to be quiet, but I didn’t
write those intentions into the book. My intention, I think, was to let Ginny tell her own story –
to honor her voice, and to present it in all its boldness and intensity for people to see. Er, I
mean, hear. I don’t know if that was Ginny’s intention as well, but I suspect it was. She’s a very
smart cookie, to use one of her favorite phrases.
I also thought that the feelings and concerns experienced by Maura and Brian were very
honest. Did you worry that readers would react badly to their frustrations and how did you
go about avoiding this?
Thank you for noticing! I wanted to present Brian and Maura as honestly as possible. When
people adopt, they have no idea what they’re getting into. I mean, they have excellent
intentions, and they undergo a tremendous amount of training, but no one can be 100% ready
for what they’ll face when they bring a child from foster care into their home. Adopting is very
much a process of parents adapting to the child, and a child adapting to the parent. The
changes that need to occur on both sides can’t begin until the two are together, in the home.
No amount of training can prepare you for how your own heart will move when it finds itself in
such a unique situation.
Most writers are readers first….is this the case for yourself? Which authors and novels would
you recommend as must reads?
It is, but I don’t read nearly as broadly as a lot of people would hope. I’m a slow reader, and a
deep reader. I like to re-read the same book over and over, because I find that every time I
move through a book, I move through it differently. There are things I just don’t catch the first
time around, you know? The top five books that I like to recommend include 1) The One Room
Schoolhouse, by Jim Heynen; 2) The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion, 3) Jazz, by Toni
Morrison, and 4) One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; and 5) Never Cry
Wolf, by Farley Mowatt.
As a non-writer, I’m always fascinated by the writing process…can you tell us about where
you write and any rituals or routines you have to aid the creative process?
I get up very early to write, around 3:30 in the morning, because I really need space and quiet. I
find that my best work happens before anyone else is awake. I’m usually only half-awake
myself, and somehow the editor in me just doesn’t edit. He stands aside, and the ideas just
pour out. I end up nixing a lot of them later in the day, when I take another few hours to go
revise the morning’s batch. But those unedited, unbound ideas are always my best, and they’re
the ones that move the story forward.
Finally, what are you working on next?
I just finished the first draft of a new novel, another voice-driven piece. This time there’s a male
protagonist – a little boy – but he isn’t anything like Ginny. I love voices – voices that are
unique because of unique circumstances that happened long ago.